Chapter 4Mature

Sarah’s stealth spell active upon them, Tesla Squad hunted for their weapons. They crept down the stairs to the lobby, since the cleaner’s and manager’s offices were down there and the likeliest place to store weapons.

The cleaners’ closet had cleaning equipment only. They noted the flammable liquids within, and moved along. The manager’s office they found easily enough, and the door—around the corner from the popcorn self-service area—was closed.

Tesla Squad could see one another, despite being invisible—it was like someone had fiddled with the opacity settings on Photoshop, which Jarred remembered from before the war. It was magic to fool the mind, unlike scientific methods. Those played around with visible light, and had the unfortunate effect of making the eyes invisible as well. Which meant the invisible person couldn’t see. Which meant the magic version of the same power was far superior to the scientific.

So Jarred, visible to his team mates but not to anyone else, signalled for them to stop. The team went silent.

“No sign of the master demon,” Jarred whispered. “Or our weapons. I’m betting that means both are in there.” He pointed behind him, to the manager’s door. “One of use goes in quiet, sees if they can get our weapons back, and gets out. If the demon’s in there, we abort the weapons part of this plan and focus on getting the kids out. Understood?”

Everyone nodded.

“Good. Jess, you’re our most ninja-like. You’re up.”

Jess saluted and then tested the door to the manager’s office.

It sprung open before she touched it and out of it roared a horde of flying demon underlings.

Jess scrambled away.

“Open fire!” Jarred shouted, and let loose with a lightning bolt into the mass of flying demons. He hit several with the bolt, electricity arcing from the main bolt and branching like a flashing electric tree. Several demons fell, charred and still, to the ground making a wet impacts on the tiles.

Sarah, in a move that surprised even Jarred, flung a fire spell at the demons. He knew she had that capability, but to see her actually use it was another matter. White mages took an oath to heal, not to harm. To see her unleash a torrent of divine fire at the demons, well, it was amazing. They screamed and they burnt and they fell.

More poured out, and with them came the master demon, sword drawn and tail arched. At a mental command the sword’s blade erupted into flame and the demon charged.

‘How can it see us?!’ Jarred thought in surprise.

Jess jumped in the way of the demon’s attack, psychic barrier in place. The demon flapped once and took flight, then dived straight downwards. Jess angled the shield above her, and the demon bounced off it. The demon hit the floor in a crouch, sword out to one side, its clawed feet and spare hand raking furrows into the carpet of the lobby.

Jarred spun around and fired a bolt of lightning at the master demon. The demon dodged—dodged a lightning bolt! Well two could play the dodging game. Jarred charged.

 

###

 

Meanwhile David, practically unnoticed, dove for the manager’s door and disappeared inside. Within, unguarded, were all the team’s weapons: four knives, four pistols (one a revolver, that was Sarah’s) and their main weapons: Sarah’s bow, Jarred’s assault rifle, Jess’ sniper rifle and, David was relieved to find, his shotgun. They were there in an open duffle bag, and David assumed the demon had been checking them out just before. David grabbed the bag and took the shotgun from it. Then he raced back outside.

“Guess what’s in the bag!” he shouted to Jess, who was busy flinging bits of whatever was lying around at the demon from the sideline, since she had no weapons and no offensive psychic powers—yet. But soon she would.

She turned to David and he handed her the bag. Her eyes lit up like a child’s on Christmas morning. Lovingly she took out her sniper rifle and checked it. It seemed to be in one piece. She held it up to her shoulder. Jarred was engaged in battle with the demon, and it was a contest of reflexes. Sarah came over and took her bow back, testing its draw and fixing an arrow to it. Satisfied, she faced the battle of dodging going on between Jarred and the demon.

“You can make that shot,” David said.

“It’ll be hard though,” Sarah said. “Moving targets.”

“I’ve seen you with that bow,” David said. “You’re a great archer. And a wonderful role model for this generation of young girls. But right now, what we need is your skills.”

“Alright,” she said, and sighted down the arrow.

Jarred must have seen what she was doing, because he headed straight for the group, the demon hot on his heels. Then, he simply dodged to the right and Sarah let loose the arrow. It sailed smooth and true and struck the demon in the eye.

The demon stopped where it was, standing bolt upright. Then Jarred got back up, clenched his hand around the metal shaft of the arrow, and sent several thousand volts of electricity coursing through it. The demon convulsed and screamed. Jarred ripped the offending arrow out of the demon’s eyeball and then shoved it through the creature’s windpipe. It slipped to its knees and then keeled over. Black blood trickled out of its wounds, pooling on the carpet.

Jarred wrenched the arrow free, walked to Sarah and gave it back to her all bloody and messy.

“For you, m’lady,” he said. She took it and inspected it, and seeing that it wasn’t too damaged, took out a rag, cleaned it, and put it in her quiver.

“Well that was disturbing,” David said.

“I improvised the stabbing thing,” Jarred said. “The gift thing... also just came to me.”

“Let’s go rescue some children,” said David.

Tesla Squad found the children strung up in the Vmax theatre, unconscious but alive. They carefully cut every one of them down and helped them get their bearings before letting them out of the theatre. Not one of them gave their rescuers any attitude. They were too subdued to be a nuisance.

“Shy kids,” Jess said.

“They’ve been kidnapped by demons, tied upside down, we have no idea what they’ve been through,” Jarred said. “I’d be too exhausted to cause a scene.”

“They probably just want to go home,” David said.

“Yeah, guess so,” Jess conceded.

“And we’re going to take them there,” Jarred said. “That’s a promise.” 

The End

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